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Rainham welder creates green sea turtle sculpture filled with rubbish thrown in the River Thames

PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 September 2019

Welder Otis Griffith, from Rainham, has created a sea green turtle sculpture filled with rubbish from the River Thames as a reminder of how people are damaging the environment. Picture: Otis Griffith

Welder Otis Griffith, from Rainham, has created a sea green turtle sculpture filled with rubbish from the River Thames as a reminder of how people are damaging the environment. Picture: Otis Griffith

Otis Griffith

A self-taught welder has created a green sea turtle sculpture filled with recyclable rubbish dumped in the River Thames in a bid to "start a conversation" about protecting the environment in the borough.

Welder Otis Griffith, from Rainham, has created a sea green turtle sculpture filled with rubbish from the River Thames as a reminder of how people are damaging the environment. Picture: Otis GriffithWelder Otis Griffith, from Rainham, has created a sea green turtle sculpture filled with rubbish from the River Thames as a reminder of how people are damaging the environment. Picture: Otis Griffith

Otis Griffith, 49, from Rainham, spent a month creating Terry the turtle, a sculpture made from mild steel and materials he found in the River Thames as well as in the streets around his house.

He presented Terry to the public at the Havering Show last month.

"Over the bank holiday weekend, loads of rubbish was left on the beach in Southend, which half of would have gone in the sea, and the same thing happened at Glastonbury", he said.

"I wanted to create something to make people realise what they're doing when they throw their rubbish.

Welder Otis Griffith, from Rainham, has created a sea green turtle sculpture filled with rubbish from the River Thames as a reminder of how people are damaging the environment. Picture: Otis GriffithWelder Otis Griffith, from Rainham, has created a sea green turtle sculpture filled with rubbish from the River Thames as a reminder of how people are damaging the environment. Picture: Otis Griffith

"I watched this clip of a straw being pulled out of a green sea turtle's mouth and knew then I wanted to make a turtle sculpture.

"Being able to show it at Havering Show was a great way to start a conversation with adults and children learning about the environment."

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Otis, who has been welding for more than 20 years and previously made a 13st horse sculpture using around 5,000 nuts and bolts, wanted to raise awareness of the problems people are causing by throwing rubbish into waterways, seas and oceans.

Welder Otis Griffith, from Rainham, has created a sea green turtle sculpture filled with rubbish from the River Thames as a reminder of how people are damaging the environment. Picture: Otis GriffithWelder Otis Griffith, from Rainham, has created a sea green turtle sculpture filled with rubbish from the River Thames as a reminder of how people are damaging the environment. Picture: Otis Griffith

He spent just two hours collecting 10 bin bags full of recyclable materials discarded in the River Thames which he brought back to his house to fill his turtle sculpture with.

The bottom of Terry is made from a wooden pallet and mooring rope also both retrieved from the river.

He said: "I walk that way by the Thames regularly so I wasn't surprised.

"There were plastic bottles, tennis balls, signs, crates, shoes - lots of random rubbish.

"You start to realise just how much is there when you properly go through it all and I just collected all of that in a space of about 300metres."

Otis is now looking for somewhere else to display Terry the turtle to keep the environmental conversations going.

He said: "We need to stop being so careless about how we throw things away."

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